In a recent blog I discussed how I sought out music that challenged me, and apparently I feel same way about drama, because I was quite fond of The Sweet, Burning Yonder by John Ray. Yes, he had given me a synopsis of the play, and yes, I read the program before the performance, but knowing what a play is “about” doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ever totally grounded…and I don’t think you’re supposed to be when you watch a play by John Ray. The Sweet, Burning Yonder played to sold-out crowds all five nights at the Fringe Festival this year, and to me it embodies the spirit of that festival; it’s experimental, bizarre, funny and strange at the same time that sheds some light on dark themes. Continue reading “John Ray Is a Rock Star”
Charlie Wilson is a pianist who lives in Cincinnati and plays out on a rare occasion, usually in the company of King Reeves, an equally talented vibraphonist. Sometimes the two of them work as a duet and sometimes they expand the lineup to a quintet. Decades ago, while he was living in California, Charlie played with Don Cherry – and this goes back far enough that it was actually before the Ornette Coleman Quartet that changed the shape of jazz. After moving to Cincinnati, Charlie toured with Roland Kirk.
I had a nice visit today with Nelson Slater, who dropped by to trade two LPs of particular interest to me for a box of 45s of particular interest to him. If you don’t know Nelson, he’s a fellow Cliftonite who has done contract work for Gaslight Property. Nelson attended Syracuse University in the early 1960s, where he befriended and played music with a guy named Lou Reed, who ended up forming a band that was pretty good and then went on to have a solo career as well. Nelson also penned a couple great song in the soul vein that have become what I will refer to as obscure classics: “Get Out” by Tommy Sears and “Symphony” by Andy & the Marglows. Here are youtube links to hear those songs:
In 1976 Nelson released an album called Wild Angel on RCA; Lou Reed produced the record and performed on it. He continues to perform all over the country and release new music. While Nelson was here I had a chance to catch up with what was going on musically and otherwise. Continue reading “Nelson Slater Pays a Visit”
You may have caught wind of the fact that UC beat Syracuse in the Big East semifinal game; there may even be a reader or two who watched the game on TV. I caught bits and pieces toward the end, but it happened to be taking place during a phase of the day when cabin fever was getting to me. My cure: walking up and down Ludlow Avenue with no particular destination. (I’m good at that, by the way; I think a lot of people are.) Along the way I saw through windows people jumping up and down and cheering whenever a ball went through a net on the end of the court where they wanted it to go through. Even a light winter tends to make us a feel a bit rusty when it comes to revisiting the places we visit much more frequently when the weather is warm, and as I walked up Ludlow I wondered if I’d end up feeling like George Bailey did when his guardian angel takes him on a tour of Pottersville. Continue reading “Willy and Haneef: Street Musicians Extraordinaire”